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Hedon (Eternal Night)

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The Frozen Tears Of Angels
The Frozen Tears Of Angels
Price: 8.65

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rhapsody are BACK!, 9 May 2010
Alas my poor Rhapsody. I absolutely LOVED their first 5 albums (Lengedary tales - Dragonflame) and they really got me into symphonic metal and power metal in a big way. However, after numerous legal troubles and two lackluster albums, I'd written the Italian masters of cheese off for good... HOW WRONG WAS I??? Frozen Tears of Angels is easily the best thing to come from the boys since Power of the Dragonflame and sees them back on the top of their game, firing all cylinders with bombast, cheese, epicness, and the kind of sweep-picked guitar solos that can level small countries.

The Dark Secret and Symphony 2 really gave me the impression that Luca and the boys had run out of ideas and the tank was running on empty. The funny thing about Frozen is that Rhapsody aren't doing anything new with this one, it just soundss like they've found their soul again. its still huge guitar riffs, magestic ochestral arrangements, big choruses, great solos and Fabio's wonderful operatic singing, but they sound really rejuvinated and re-energised, and most importantly, the band sound like their actually enjoying themselves again. No more stale melodies or rehashed riffs this time. The band are pushing themselves to excellence, esp Mr. Turilli who once again reminds us why he is one of the worlds premier guitar players. Great riffs and solo's are thrown around with reckless abandon and just about every song features an amazing extended instrumental breaks where Luca shreds molten lava from his fretboard! Take the wicked opener Sea of Fate - galloping double-bass drums, soaring arpegiated riffing, great vocal melodies from Fabio, then a wicked solo break, then a key solo, then a bass tapping solo, then more guitar - it just freaking ROCKS! there's not much more to say then that; its Rhapsody but good again!

Other highlights include the cracking Raging Starfire, the fast and furious Reign of Terror(which features near-black metal style screeching from Fabio), the mid-paced and almost groovy title track and the bizzare foray into spanish flamenco that is Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio. The best has to be On the Way to Ainor, which is more epic then Luca Turilli's 1980s mullet! All in all, it seems like they channeled all the frustration and anger from their legal issues into this album, and what an album it is. I'm sorry boys, i'll never lose faith in you again.

If you've never been a Rhapsody fan then nothing on this album will change that. However, if you've been a fan of their older stuff and always thought they could dobetter then The Dark Secret you should check this out. There's nothing quite like Rhapsody of Fire, and the best thing about Frozen Tears of Angels is undoubtedly the sound of a band who've been having a rough time getting back on the horse and rocking to their best. It might not beat Symphony of Enchanted Lands or Dawn of Victory, but Frozen Tears is a fantastic album and one very much worthy of the bands legacy. So, strap on your chainmail, ring out your mullet and let all your d&d fantasys come true!

Along with Blind Guardian's latest and Orden Ogan's brilliant Easton Hope, this is one of the better power metal albums of the year

King of Nordic Twilight
King of Nordic Twilight

4.0 out of 5 stars Rhapsody by any other name, 1 May 2010
This review is from: King of Nordic Twilight (Audio CD)
Kings of Nordic Twilight is basically 'the lost Rhapsody album' that was released between Symphony of Enchanted Lands and Dawn of Victory. It's that simple. Athough Luca Turili decided to do things without his buddies Starpoli and Lione, this sounds more or less EXACTLY like the Rhapsody trademark syphonic power metal... to the point where i wonder how much creative input Starpoli has. And guess what? Olaf Heyer sounds just like Lione. Even the productions the same dammit!

But does all this mean it's a bad album? Hell no! This is definitly on a par with the best that Turili's main band have ever produced, think overblown introdction, ripping speed metal tracks with huge choral choruses, the odd ballet or two, a few mid pacers and plenty of pomp, syhmphonic touches, a bit of the old harpsicord and of course Turili's trademark guitar virtuosity and your in epic fantasy metal heaven!

it seems that some of the other reviewers even see this solo project as ripping Rhapsody at times. I'm not too sure, i guess i like Fabio Lione's vocals a bit more then Olaf's, but at the end of the day this is probably equal to Symphony and Dawn of Victory, and definitely better then the Dark Secret and anything that came after. The only things is you gotta ask yourself if we really need a Rhapsody colne band when we already have Rhapsody? Was Turili really justified in making this a solo project? maybe its irrelevant, maybe not...

Well, at the end of the day this is another Rhapsody album and a great one at that. If you've never been into Turili's main band then there's nothing on here to convince you otherwise. however, this album was like a oasis in the desert for me as i LOVED Rhapsody's first 4 albums but haven't really liked anything recent. Those who like their power metal epic, overblown, symphonic and dressed in chain mail will not be dissapointed!

Fragile Equality (Special Ed)
Fragile Equality (Special Ed)
Price: 10.34

3.0 out of 5 stars POWER metal, 2 April 2010
Almah are a side project from the singer from Brazilian band Angra. While not radically different sounding from Angra, Almah forgo the formers love of long prog song structures and experimentation to clobber the listen with some very heavy yet also very melodic power metal. And this is power metal... possibly the most over-crowded genre on the planet eh? Well, as someone who's always on a nenver ending quest to weed out the chuff in my favourite genres, let me tell you why I think Almah are worth a place in this cramped space.

For one, this is definitelt Power Metal with a capital 'P' boys. Of course its fairly melodic, it has symphonic touches and Malmsteen-esque lead guitars, but Almah are a few degrees heavier then your average Helloween or Sonata Arctica wannabe. Fragile Equality really caught me of guard with its harder and heavier riffs, it's grooves and it's overall more ballsy approach to the genre complete with some rougher and scratchier vocals then one might be used to. Good examples of this are the opening two cuts Bird of Prey and Beyond Tomorrow, which are hard hitting and surprisingly un-cheesey numbers that bring to mind the more aggressive of the power metallers such as Lost Horizon or Pyramaze. Don't worry, the cheese isn't far behind in Magic Flame or ballad All I Am, but even this cheese is a fair step down from the likes of say Freedom Call or Heavenly. The band also score big points with me for being more reserved with their keyboards, usuing them to great effect to build a very fittingly bombastic and almost sci fi/cinematic atmosphere in places.

Overall, Almah aren't exactly redefining the genre nor do they differ much from their given template; however, the album just oozes a slick level of class and excellence in all aspects, be it the vocals, the frighteningly talented guitar playing, the tight rhythm section or the strong and memorable songwriting. Even the cover art is pretty damn good.

I guess if there's one thing Fragile Equality leaves to be desired then it is, of course, originality, and i'll be first to admit i haven't heard anything new on this album. However, the fact that it's well written, faultlessly exectued and a fair bit heavier and less-cheesy then most power metal bands today, i can't help but thinking that Almah have earned their place in an overcrowded marketplace. Although I wonder how the wet foray into radio rock that is 'Invisible Cage' made it's way onto the album - a very weak tune on an otherwise strong album. Still, a good album and recommended for anyone looking for something power metallish put slightly harder then the rest.

3.5 stars

Enter Deception
Enter Deception
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 11.38

4.0 out of 5 stars astonishing debut, 26 Mar 2010
This review is from: Enter Deception (Audio CD)
Every once in a while, and unknown band comes out of the leftfield from nowhere and blows holes in the competition. Thats the story with Cellador and their fantastic debut Enter Deception. Power metal is probably one of the most overcrowded and lacking in innovation of all metal genres, but don't let that put you off Cellador. Think the classic and soaring melodies of prime Helloween, Iron Maiden, Running Wild etc combined with some stellar guitar virtuosity (think Steve Vai or Joe Satriani at their best) and some harder edged influences from thrash like heavy palm muted riffs and double bass drumming and your on track for Enter Deception. Its kinda like a glorious middle ground between European and American power metal ramped and speeded up for a modern audience. The guitar playing is simply out of this world and easily rivals the likes of Children of Bodom in terms of technicallity, and the drumming is also spectacular, as are the retro Micheal Kiske wannabe vocals.

A combination of super fast virtuosity and classic power metal melodies. You might think that this sounds a little bit like a certain Dragonforce eh? Well, the fact of the matter is that while the bands do sound a bit similar, Cellador annihilate the brits at their own game. They can match them pound for pound interms of technical ability and knock them out of the park in terms of drumming and vocals (the singer has this great Dickenson/Kiske sounding voice with great range and power). However, the yanks really take the plate in terms of writing. While Cellador are certainly no Nevermore or Dream Theatre, they have much, MUCH more variety then Dragonforce have shown in recent years, with sounds having their own personality and charm rather then sounding like carbon copies of each other. Cellador also show a larger repetiore of influences from power metal (euro and US) to thrash, stadium rock, classic metal, even the odd nod towards death and melodic death in some of the more extreme and technical instumental parts. Basically, they beat them in every area.

If you like melodic power metal thats fast, technical and easily enjoyable, give cellador a chance. This is even good enough to appeal to fans of NWOBHM, melodic thrash, classic heavy metal, and extreme power metal if they can deal with the Helloween-style vocals. They got it all, the riffs, the solos, the vocals, the drumming and the talent to put it all together for good use. Hopefully this will be a band we'll be hearing more from soon.

El Diablo
El Diablo
Price: 2.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They've seen their fate, and it is brutal, 10 Mar 2010
This review is from: El Diablo (Audio CD)
Oh boy, this is something special. Really special. Quite possibly the purest musical expression of minimalist rage and no nonesense aggression, El Diablo is the sonic equivalent of the part in Lock Stock when Vinnie Jones starts slamming a guys brains out with his car door; its brutal, its filthy, it aint pretty but for some reason you can't get enough of it.

Take four normal looking kids from California with a love of Neurosis style sludgy hardcore, thow in some of the most massive metal grooves ever to grace God's green earth, a monsterous rhythm section, the vocal equivilent of fire and brimestone and round it of with some discordant yet enchanting post-rock elements and you have El Diablo. The overall affect is a glorious hypnotic lull that's something like the moment before losing conciousness when your getting a serious battering. The pain, the anger, the seeething, SEETHING hatred wond up in this tight explosion of ten ton riffs, discordant melody, tangled webs of spidery bass lines, earth shaking yet groovy drumming and Grady's industrial sand blaster vocals is by no means an easy sound to get into, but if you perserve with it you'll find one of the most criminally under rated bands of the last 20 years. Think slow, think chrushing, think unrelenting fury. So heavy and brutal yet so cerebral at the same time, Will Haven were and still are on another level. Listen carefully and you can hear bands like Cult of Luna, Old Man Gloom, Isis, Norma Jean, Chariot, and Pelcian taking notes

It's a shame that Will haven's only sin was the fact that their bludgeoning cross pollination of sludge, punk and metal was about 10 years ahead of it's time, and, as such, remained under the radar. But anyone who really knows their heavy music knows Will Haven and surely has El Diablo. A definitive classic.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2010 9:49 PM BST

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Price: 8.26

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars time for the competition to step aside, 3 Mar 2010
This review is from: 12 Gauge (Audio CD)
I've been following Kalmah for the last few years and was expectantly waiting for 12 Gauge, but I had no idea I was going to be as stunned as I was. The album sees Kalmah really coming into their own with possibly their most their most mature, focused and well written work to date. And even though FTR was a pretty good album, nothing could have prepared me for the no holds barred battering that 12 Gauge had in store.

Overall, the album sees a slight move away from the melodeath and neo-classical/baroque sounds to accommodate a heavier classic/traditional metal and thrash influence. It's quite a subtle change, but an important one, as you can hear the band laying tribute to their 80s idol Metallica, Megadeth and Maiden throughout and also distancing themselves from a sounds which has been plagerized to death. The guitar playing between the brothers Kokko is sublime; their cerebral interplay of riffs, harmonies and solos is out of this world. Its also interesting that they've used acoustic guitars to great effect on 3 or 4 tracks. On the flip side, Marco Sneck's keys are downplayed slightly, giving much more background texture aside from the odd lead riff and key solo. But less is certainly more in this case, as his wonderful keys give the album a very epic, almost cinematic feel which gives plenty of room for the guitars (this is definitely a guitar players album) but keeps the sinister atmosphere perfectly. And, as always, the rhythm section of Timo Lehtinen and Janne Kusmin is tight and thunderous.

The album kicks off like something out of a spaghetti Western with some beautiful classical guitars a wicked trumpet part (yes, a bloody trumpet) and I'm already feeling shades of Metallica and Megadeth as the distortion fades in and BAM! `Rust Never Sleeps' launches into top gear with a powerful blast of focused, brutal and still melodic metal as Pekka Kokko proves yet again that he is one of Finlands most devastating vocalists. This opening bomb flowing easily into `One of Fail', one the albums best tracks. Both are fast, aggressive and technical while seamlessly transitioning from breakneck thrash and chugging riffs to epic metal melodies and very anthemic, sing/growl-along choruses that just make me ape out. The solos are to die for, especially Marcos key solo on `Rust Never Sleeps' and the awesome dual solo on `One of Fail'. Something's telling me I'm in for a really good ride here, and it's not wrong.

Right out of the starting blocks 12 Gauge impressed me a great deal with these two tracks, especially the beast that is'One of Fail'. `Bullets are Blind' follows on brilliantly, with some very sombre melodies and probably the most classic-Kalmah sound of the album. We then have `Swampwar', which takes the pace down a notch and shows much more of a trad metal vibe with some wonderful duelling guitars straight out of 1983, yet still incredibly heavy and with group shouts and again a very anthemic chorus. And it just keeps getting better. `Better not tell' is pretty much the centre piece of the album, which shows just how mature and capable Kalmah have become as songwriters as its mid paced grooves and heartwrenching melodies bring to mind the mighty `Orion' by Metallica, yet somehow they're managing to balance this perfectly with Kalmah's very own brutality. Again, the wonderful interplay of the Kokko brother's masterful axe work with Marco Snecks subtle yet wholly indispensable keys make this song really special and perhaps the albums best. `Hook the Monster' and `Godeye' bring us back to all out war with blast beats and tachincal riffing abound without compromising the albums dark melody or epic, anthemic sound (the choruses are just amazing!) Likewise, the title ttack surves up a rather collosal helping of thrash/melodeth after another beautiful classical guitar intro. Finally `Sacramentum' closes with epic mid-paced metal chops collide with some truly heartrending melodies and operatic atmosphere as the album comes to a dramatic finish.

I was really stunned with Kalmah's new baby. It's astonishing to hear how much they progressed as writers and musicians while never, for one second, abandoning their extreme metal heart and or all out metal onslaught of their previous works. The merging of their melodeth/extreme power metal roots with their heavy metal and thrash influences, as well as the toning down of symphonic elements, works absolute wonders for the band and gives them a fresh new sound. It may not be as technical or as chaotic as the olden days, but its more focused, more precise, more mature, better written and just as fast and aggressive as Kalmah ever where. If you like your metal epic and heavy with solos, shredding and riffs a plenty then 12 Gauge has it all. In my opinion, Kalmah have, with this cd, blown the competition away, even my beloved Skyfire, and ascended the throne of their chosen genre. A real testament to what years of hard work can sound like when it pays off. Even though it's only March, I may have found my album of 2010 already.

We Are The Void
We Are The Void
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 8.25

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another feather in the DT cap, 27 Feb 2010
This review is from: We Are The Void (Audio CD)
Dark Tranquillity have become something of a legend amoung their fans. Not only are they the only member of the Gothenburg 3 to still be outting good leodic death (ATG split while In Flames went la la in commerical metal land), they've been consistently supllying us with top quality metal albums for around two decades, yet to deliver anything outside the realm of fantastic. As an uber fanboy, new DT releases hold both excitement and anxiety in equal measure; excitment about hearing new material and anxiety that they might slip up and deliver an album thats 'only good'. We'll, after getting my filthy hands on a promo copy of We Are the Void, i can safely report that all's well on the DT front.

Carrying on with the style mapped out on Damage Done, Character and Fiction, We are the Void is another brilliant, if somewhat familiar sounding CD from the reigning kings of Melodic Death Metal. As usual theres a fair diversity of songs like speedy agreesive numbers Shadow in Our Blood and my favourite Surface the Infinite, the stopping groove of Dreamland Oblivion and In My Absence, the stop-start riffing of The Grandest Acusation and the token 'clean vocals song' Her Silent Language, all of which are excellent and do justice to the high standards one would expect. The biggest surprises come in hideously heavy Arghanglesk and the proggy, droning closer Iridium, both of which show more a of a modern/post-metal sound that brings to mind Cult of Luna or Isis. Overall, We are the Void sees a slow encroaching of more modern metal sounds coming into the bands sound and a slight, very slight, toning down of the Gothernburg melodies. That said, it's definitely a DT album through and through. It's also slightly less aggressive then Character and Fiction with less blast beats, and perhaps more of a focus on melodies and hooks.

Production, as always, is perfect for the band with chunky compressed guitar sounds and plenty of space for the atmospheric keyboards. Mikael Stanne sounds murderous behind the mic with his gargled screams and gutteral roars as potent as ever, which is surprising as he's been sounding a bit worn out live recently. Its also worth noting that the guitar solos sound a lot better then they have in a while, with Sundin and Henriksson giving their fingers a bit more of a workout then last time - excellent.

We are the Void really lacks a dull moment, and fans of DT will lap this up. However, there is one obvious flaw to the proceedings, the magnitutde of which depends on your own personal relationship with the band; it sticks very closely to the template laid down on Fiction, and it might be a bit to close for the casual observer. For the first time I can remember, DT didn't really bring anything new to the playing field on this one, which is why its coasting on 4 stars in my book... Perhaps unoriginality can be overlooked when you consider DT literally invented the genre with their buddies ATG and In Flames back in the day? besides, Amon Amarth have been getting away with the same thing for years and no one's even raised an eyebrow; i think we can let Stanne, Sundin and co off this once.

Fans of the band will love this and feel right at home in the void, while anyone unimpressed with their recent albums will probably not jump for joy. I, a completly irrational and biased DT fan, already love it and will probably be listing to this day after day for the next few months.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 1, 2010 6:38 PM BST

Something Wild
Something Wild
Price: 5.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The album that spawned a million imitators, 25 Feb 2010
This review is from: Something Wild (Audio CD)
Ah, the album that started all the fuss. Although COB are household names, back in 1997 this album ripped a black hole in the metal world and left most of us trying vainly to pull our jaws up off the floor. We can never really be sure who originated this style of music, as bands like Norther and Kalmah all started around the same time as well, but we can be sure that Something Wild was the worlds first realese of what has been described as extreme power metal. And metal was never the same again.

If you havn't heard of Bodom yet, shame on you, their early stuff's an unholy cross-breeding of the aggressive, thrashing and technical metal of Death's later albums with neoclassical power metal pomp (w/ full on keyboards!) of Stratovarious and the kinda of ultra melodius sweep picking that gives Yngwie Malmsteen's mullet its special sheen. Although the style has been plagerized to death, at the time it took the metal world by storm. Could you really be this cheeesy and this aggresive at the same time? Sure, we'd already had the Gothenburgers showing us death and melody could play nice together, but nothing on the scale of these Beethoven lovers. However, it does work, and bloody well if i may say so.

Through a slick synthesis of timeless classically-tinged melodies, red-raw aggression, atmospheric keyboards, the kind of guitar-hero virtuosity thought lost somewhere in the 80s and an altogether stunning drumming performace by Jaska Raatikainen, COB brough a new, fresh and exciting sound to the metal spectrum. The combination of steller musicianship and original (at the time) songwriting pulled off a major coup in the metal world which had hairy teenagers listening to Bach and taking piano lessons on the weekend. Just give it a whirl for yourself and listen; there's something really, really great going on on this album which, some 13 years later, still sounds bloody great to my ears.

Its also worth noting that this album went completly and utterly against the grain of its time, when guitar solos and keyboards were about as fashionable as scurvy and 'cool' was angsty nu-matal and grungy kerrang dribble. Bodom were at the forefront of bring trad metal sounds and the almighty guitar solo back to the forefront and should be rightly credited so!

While i think Bodom outclassed this album and went on to new heights with their next two releases, Something Wild is worth getting becuase it has its own unique sparkle of magic that other Bodom albums don't have. For one, this is without doubt the Finns at their most raw and chaotic, and despite the ultra-melodic Malmsteem melodies one can clearly discern a wiff of Death in the background. Songs like Into the Shadows and The Nail have some really dark melodies and an aura of painful desperation that isn't really heard on other Bodom cds. There's also some quite brilliant gothic and creepy undertones such as the use of harpsicord and organ keyboard effects (kinda reminds me of Castlevania on the SNES) which would be stripped from their sound. The power metal cheese, while present, is much more toned down then even Hatebreeder. While later albums were better written, more refined and technically more stunning, Something Wild has its own dark, raw, dangerous and dirty charm that i feel makes it a worthy purchase. Its probably the 3rd best Bodom album (after Follow the Reaper and Hatebreeder) and definitly much better then recent efforts.

Go on, pick it up! its both a pice of metal history and great album to boot!

Bringer Of Plagues (digi pack w/bonus tracks)
Bringer Of Plagues (digi pack w/bonus tracks)
Price: 16.25

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars solid, 10 Feb 2010
Back in 90s, as a snotty, shaggy-haired school boy i was ensnared by a certain album called Demanufacture; its cold brutality, mechinally frantic drumming, quasi-death vocals and creepy industrial melody captivated the equally angry and awkward teenager i was. Although I have completly written Fear Factory off over the following decades, I'd heard a lot of good things about Divine Heresy and decided to check them out.

Dino's new band are definitely no FF. This is something closer to the extreme thrash of the early 90s combined with a more modern death metal sound. However they seem to have successfully captured that special combination of death metal fury, crushing riffs and subtle melodies that made Demanufacture so appealing, something which FF themselves could never do in my opinion. Just like those early FF albums, Bringer of Plagues hits you like a nuclear assualt, a slightly different musical approach in the riffs and song writing but to the same effect. I'm actually really impressed with Dino here, as he shows a lot more versitlily behind his 7 or 8 strings and mixes it up with much tighter and complex riffs then he ever used in FF, even using a solo or two. That said, he still kicks back and lets the pummelling stattaco riffs fly with reckless abandon. Add in prodical drumming sensation Tim Yeungs ridiculously talented footwork (did this guy have his double bass pedals surgically fused to his feet or something?), the instrumental side of Bringer of Plagues is pretty damn impressive. Not exactly groundbreaking or overflowing with variety, but tight, aggressive and throughly enjoyable, especially with Mr. Yeung being, hands down, one of the best drummers in the world.

There is a big issue with Divine Heresy though. With the metal maelstron generated by Dino and Tim, you'd be thinking the vocalist would pack an equally destructive set of lungs. Personally i'd want someone like Peter Tägtgren or Jeff Walker spitting death and fire behind the mic. Instead we get junior metalcore with Linkin Park melodies from some bald guy. Ok, ok he's not that bad, but seriously his voice is way too tame for this band. Come on Dino! you used to play in Brujeria for heaven's sakes! Secondly, the album starts really strong but looses momentum around the sixth or seventh track, with 'letter to mother' and 'The End Begins' being the only real highlights from then on.

Putting my dislike of Travis Neal's vocals aside, Bringer of Plagues is a solid and worthwhile album, it's main strength being a fantastic synthesis of wicked guitar riffs and insane drumming poweful enough to level small countries. However, this continues to grow on me and i think i'll get some good listens out of it. More importanly, todays climate of generally lack luster US metal may just find Divine Heresy all the more meaningful...

lets just drop the Killswitch wannabe vocalist and get someone a bit more extreme next time ok Dino?

This Is Hell
This Is Hell
Price: 11.06

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars retro-blasting, 10 Feb 2010
This review is from: This Is Hell (Audio CD)
Dimension Zero are a (shock) melodeth band from Sweden which features former In Flames axeman Jesper Strömblad. It seems that, like the rest of us, he wasn't too pleased with the direction In Flames took on their last few albums and decided to form his own band to do things his own way.

DZ are really kicking it old school as far as the genre is concerned, and are probably the closest thing out the to the original gothenburg sound of the late 80s and very early 90s. Its fast, its loud, its in your face and its very aggressive. The all important melody is of course present and accounted for. it may not be a suprise that Strömblad has taken over some of his trademark In Flames style melodies, no much more so then on 'Into and out of Subsistence', 'Immaculate' or 'Di Minores'. However, DZ have none of the subtlties or extended acoustic sections of his former band; that go straight for the jugular and hit you hard with some decisively burtal throat work from former Marduk singer Jocke Göthberg and by a punishing 101 in death metal drumming from Hans Nilsson. While the band accel in their chosen forte, fast and frantic melodeath, they unfortunetly don't give us much in the way of variety or diversity of songwriting. As such, anyone looking for a bit of depth is likely to be dissapointed. That said, if your looking for a set of short and aggressive songs you can't go wrong here; personally, i find this is a good album for my work out sessions.

If retro melodeath is your thing, you'll probably get a good kick out of this. While it doesn't really level any mountains in creative terms, I still prefer this over recent albums by Arch Enemy, Black Dhalia Murder or The Absence. That said, I thought their first album, Silent Night Fever, was much better.

a solid 3 out of 5

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